Chinese farming practices can help boost Pakistan’s cotton output

Pakistan can significantly enhance its cotton crop output by adopting China’s successful corporate farming practices, opined stakeholders while talking to WealthPK.

During a visit to the Corporate Agriculture Farm, Pirowal, Khanewal, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fongrow Maj Gen (retd) Tahir Aslam told WealthPK that the conventional form of cotton cultivation, besides other issues, required far greater amount of water than grown under the modern corporate farming. He said China had extended the farming of smartly-grown cotton to nearly two million acres in the vast desert area of Xinjiang.

“As many as 40 percent of cotton is being produced there. They have developed various technologies for resource-conservation intensive farming by tremendously cutting the production cost and improving picking productivity,” he said.

Tahir said his newly formed company wanted to bring the Chinese technologies to Pakistan to maximize the output of silver fiber.

“We want to use the available scarce water resources through high-efficiency irrigation techniques with a view to growing cotton on cost-effective lines,” he observed. 

“Our whole focus will be on non-irrigated agriculture. As per our plan, the areas where we want to grow cotton does not have canal irrigation network. So, we will use cutting-edge micro-irrigation method of targeted watering of crops,” Tahir added.

According to a WealthPK research, nestled along the ancient Silk Road linking China with West Asia and beyond, Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan,  has emerged as the biggest producer of cotton lint, contributing greatly to the national cotton productivity.

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the country has made strides in introducing best agriculture practices. It has become one of the world's largest cotton producers with average annual growth of up to 3.9 percent in the total output of cotton. 

In contrast, Pakistan has been struggling to meet its domestic demand of 16 million cotton bales due to various challenges. The inconsistent cotton output during the last couple of decades has slumped to as low as 4.9 million from highs of 14 million bales. So, proper intervention by the newly formed farming initiative could significantly give impetus to cotton farming in the country.

Talking to WealthPK, Khalid Khokhar, President of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI), said the farmers of South Punjab could play their role in adopting state-of-the-art cotton production technologies being introduced in the country under a partnership with Fongrow.

“A smart agricultural revolution is knocking on the doors and we expect that a leap forward is very much possible in cotton cultivation in the country through such an innovative farming practice,” he said.
Khokhar said conventional cotton growing had failed in the country. The farmers are facing huge losses due to the repeated failures of the crop. Many of them have abandoned cotton farming in even the core area of South Punjab, which is not a good omen for the country. The real success of corporate farming will reenergize efforts to make Pakistan one of the leading producers of cotton in the world, he said.

The All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has also expressed happiness over the plans to initiate largescale cotton plantation on modern lines. As the biggest consumer of locally produced cotton, the textile industry remains the country’s leading foreign-exchange earning manufacturing sector. It enjoys a lion’s share of over 60 percent in overall textile exports, making Pakistan the 8th largest exporter of textile products in Asia.

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